This year’s NBA free agency period is set to kick off just three days from now, and all signs point to New Orleans Pelicans forward/center Julius Randle becoming the latest name to watch in the offseason. As noted last week by ClutchPoints, Randle declined the $9 million player option on his contract for the coming 2019-20 season, thus allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent who could potentially sign a far more lucrative deal this summer. Earlier reports on the matter named the New York Knicks as one of the former University of Kentucky big man’s top suitors, but the latest from NBA insider Shams Charania suggests that there may be at least two other teams in the picture.
In a report that cited Wednesday’s edition of Charania’s “Inside Pass” column for The Athletic, Sporting News wrote that the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets are among the other teams aside from the Knicks that could make a move for Randle. The 24-year-old forward/center is coming off the best statistical season of his five-year NBA career, one where he averaged a career-high 21.4 points and added 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He also shot 52.4 percent from the field and developed a decent touch from beyond the arc, shooting 34.4 percent from three-point territory, as noted on his Basketball-Reference page.
If Julius Randle moves to another team this summer, this would mark the second time in just as many offseasons that he will be changing teams in the summer. After spending four years with the Los Angeles Lakers as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Randle signed a two-year, $17.7 million contract with the Pelicans in July 2018, with the second year being a player option.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) June 26, 2019
As far as re-entering free agency is concerned, Randle recently suggested that he would need to look at a number of factors before making his decision.
“You’ve just got to look at every situation,” Randle said in April, as quoted by Sporting News.
“I don’t know what the situation will look like. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here (with the Pelicans). Would love to be back. But, like I said, you have to look at every situation, look at options, and do what’s best for you and your family and your career at the moment.”
While there’s a good chance Randle could find himself maintaining a regular starting role if he gets signed by the Knicks or the Nets, things might be a bit more interesting if he ends up with the Bulls. Citing a separate report from The Athletic, Sporting News wrote that the Bulls are believed to be open to trading all their current players except big men Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter, both of whom are also recent No. 7 overall draft selections who play the same positions as Randle.